The St. Louis District of the Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to Alexander County, Illinois saying the Len Small Levee District is not eligible for flood rehabilitation assistance to help fix the Len Small Levee.

The repairs are needed after a breach three-fourths of a mile long developed in the levee in January. The repair cost is estimated at $16,596,000.

The corps sent a letter denying the request on July 21. A photo of that letter is included with this story.

The St. Louis District, Corps of Engineers says the cost to benefit ratio had to reach 1.0 or higher to provide flood rehabilitation assistance. It reached .78

Alexander County Board Chairman Chalen Tatum says if they counted businesses and farm land the Len Small Levee District probably would’ve made the cut. He’s shocked by the army corps’ decision.

“In the beginning, they were meeting with us and talking with us, coming in and putting rock down to slow the water down, and then all of sudden it’s like they turned 180 degrees,” Tatum said.

Now Tatum says they’re going to keep reaching out to federal politicians.

“To see if they can help come up with some funds to get some kind of levee put back because it backs into four or five towns when the river comes up,” Tatum said.

Tatum says right now is the time politicians’ appropriate money for the new federal budget. So the county is hopeful their desperate need can urge politicians to help Alexander County.

As for local funds, Tatum says the county is barely making and doesn’t have money to use out of their general budget to fix the levee.